I tirelessly researched a recent trip to Disney World. While many people visit the Mouse often, this trip was intended to be our family’s one-time trek to the land of the Magic Mouse. As such, I wanted it to be as memorable as possible.
A major decision is where to stay. I decided we would stay on-property, for several reasons. A major reason for me was that Disney resort guests can use the Disney bus system free to travel to any of the Disney parks or other resorts. If you fly into Orlando’s main airport, you can also use free Disney transportation to get from the airport to your resort – no small savings there!
So, we wanted to stay on-site. But, Disney has various categories of hotels. Value is the least expensive, then moderate and deluxe. I knew that we would go for a value resort as I did not want to spend a lot of money on our hotel room, where we planned to spend little time. The value resorts at Disney are the 3 All Star Resorts (Music, Movies and Sports) and Pop Century. I chose Pop Century because it is newer (built in 2003) and seemed to get better reviews in the research I did.
We arrived at Pop Century around 9 p.m. and the first thing I noted was the huge size of the lobby. There were probably 20 spots for employees to check guests in. Unfortunately, on this night only about 4 were working and there was a long line. But within 10 minutes we were able to speak with someone. We had reserved two rooms since our party included 6, and there is a maximum of 4 people per room. We were not happy to find that our two rooms had been reserved in different buildings of the resort, and those buildings did not even adjoin each other! So, we trekked to our separate buildings after a tearful discussion of who wanted to room with Grandpa for the night. I should add that we expressed our displeasure at the desk, and the employees promised to find us two adjoining rooms for the remainder of our stay after that first night.
Pop Century is HUGE! It has 2,880 rooms in various buildings decorated with themes from the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s. The buildings have huge motifs of items and sayings popular in the various decades: Rubik’s Cubes, yo yos, giant cans of Play Doh, etc. It is a delight to walk around the buildings just to discover all the visual treats. The rooms themselves are just your typical budget hotel-type room – two double beds and a small bath. At 260 square feet, there is not room for anything more than the basics. The bathroom was so small in fact, that when I closed the door it almost hit the toilet. Our rooms were clean and most days the housekeeping service left washcloths made into animal shapes. This was a huge hit with our kids!
The “Hippy Dippy Pool” was a short walk from our building and the kids enjoyed playing in it after long days at the parks. There were giant colorful flowers surrounded it, as well as a kiddie pool nearby (this was actually more of a water area to just run through than a pool). The resort is so large that we did not even see the other two pools (the Computer Pool and the Bowling Pin Pool) while we were there.
The huge lobby that we checked in at adjoined a food court with all kinds of foods available (although at sky-high prices); both hot foods and grocery store fare. There is a gift shop also (this IS Disney, you know!). The bus stop is right in front of the lobby building and we found buses to come and go frequently.
I am happy we decided to stay at Pop Century. It was clean and the decor made our stay fun. It did not have a lot of extras and luxuries, but to me the price savings was worth the sacrifice of those things.
You may also enjoy: